Thursday, October 10, 2013

Back From Oblivion (Or, The Late Sixties, Anyway)

Are you sitting comfortably, dear blog reader? Good.

It is being widely reported - on Twitter, Facebook and certain websites (if not by the BBC themselves,  or indeed anywhere else more reliable) - that at a BBC Worldwide press conference on Thursday in London, it was announced nine previously missing-believed-wiped Doctor Who episodes from the 1967-68 period and starring the late Patrick Troughton - five from The Enemy of the World and four from The Web of Fear - have been rediscovered. And there may - or may not - be more on the way. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping doesn't know whether these reports are true or not but, he imagines that confirmation, or otherwise, will be forthcoming in the next few hours. Both were six-part stories and both already had one episode each which was known to exist. So, in the case of The Enemy Of The World the BBC now, if the reports are true, have a complete copy and The Web Of Fear - a particular fan-favourite - is five-sixths complete in the BBC archives. All right, calm down, dear blog reader. I know it's exciting but try not to let your head explode. Where these recovered episodes came from and what they've been doing for the last forty five years is, also, not known at this time.
Around the same time as this blog was reporting on these rumours, the Northern Echo was in the process of putting up their story on the press conference (noting, among other things, that the episodes were discovered in Nigeria and not Ethiopia as the People and the Mirra had claimed over the weekend). However, the webpage disappeared as quickly as it had appeared and was replaced, a couple of hours later, by an apology. Presumably after they'd received the bollocking of all time from the Beeb for breaking the midnight press embargo.

The Enemy Of The World - written by the show's first script editor David Whitaker and directed by future producer Barry Letts - was first broadcast over the Christmas and New Year period of 1967-68. It was a tense thriller in which the TARDIS lands in Australia in the mid-Twenty First Century and The Doctor, Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) find themselves embroiled in a story of political intrigue and espionage. Troughton played an acclaimed duel role of not only The Doctor but also the evil Salamander, a ruthless megalomaniac who is dominating the United Zones Organisation for his own nefarious purposes. One episode of the story, part three, already existed in the archives and had been released on video and DVD (as part of The Troughton Years and Lost In Time respectively). The Web Of Fear is a very well-remembered six-parter which immediately followed The Enemy Of The World (February-March 1968). It was the second story written for the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama by the team of Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln to feature their creations The Yeti (and their controller, The Great Intelligence) in a classic behind-the-sofa chiller set in dark of the London Underground. The story is also notable as it was the first to feature an appearance by the popular character Colonel (later Brigadier) Lethbridge-Stewart played by the late Nicholas Courtney. It also featured the second appearance of the character of Professor Travers, played by Jack Watling (Deborah's dad). Atmospherically directed by Douglas Camfield, episode one of this classic serial already existed in the archives and The Web Of Fear would have been right at the top of many fan's wish-list for any potential rediscoveries. A - rather charming - specially-shot trailer for the story was also filmed, featuring Troughton. it was shown immediately after The Enemy Of The World's final episode 27 January 1968). Sadly, like so much else of the BBC's 1960s monochrome output - that also found itself junked at some stage. But, thankfully, an off-air audio recording existed and the trailer has, recently, been reconstructed as an animation.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is pure dead grateful to his old mate, the lovely Greg Bakun at the excellent From The Archives blog for that.

BBC America may have - inadvertently - revealed the BBC's approximate time of broadcast for the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor, when they updated their advance schedules for November online. The daft planks! The details (which were swiftly removed, along with, one imagines, someone's job and, possibly, their knackers as well) indicated that after a week-long celebration of the series, it would premiere in the US on 23 November at 2:45pm Eastern standard time, meaning that a British broadcast of the seventy five-minute special would start at 7:45pm UK time. The BBC are unlikely to confirm such a definite time until much nearer broadcast (usually about ten days out from the day of transmission); however, this is the first indication that Doctor Who might occupy a later prime-time slot on Saturday evening (possibly following the popular Strictly Come Dancing). Other programming planned by BBC America includes the US premiere of Mark Gatiss's much-anticipated biopic of Doctor Who's early years, An Adventure In Space & Time for Friday 22 November at 9:00pm (this, however, is not expected to be simulcast with BBC2 in the UK). That will be preceded by Explaining Doctor Who, a documentary which UK channel Watch have scheduled for 1h October as part of their Doctor Who Revisited launch day. Other 'talking-head' documentaries are to be spread over the course of the week among the episode repeats, with two of note being a new Tales From The TARDIS at 9:00pm on 18 November, and a special fifteen-minute The Day of the Doctor Pre-Show broadcast before the prime-time repeat of The Day Of The Doctor at 7:15pm EST on the 23 November. All schedules are, of course, subject to change. And massive speculation. Just like most things involving Doctor Who fans.

On Thursday, the lovely Anneke Wills posted a photo on Twitter of herself with Mark Gatiss taken at a screening in London this week of An Adventure In Space & Time. 'You are in for such a treat' notes the actress.
Continuing our - semi-regular - From The North series Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence. Number four, in the words of Richard Thompson in '1952 Vincent Black Lightning' 'red hair and black leather, my favourite colour-schemes'. Modelled, magnificently, by another From The North favourite, Karen Gillan.
(Yes, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self does, indeed, realise that's more a case of 'red hair and black rubber-imitating-latex' but, hey, who, in all honesty, is quibbling?)

Next up, our new, irregular, From The North series Great Daft Moments From TV History. Number two, inspired by yer actual Keith Telly Topping watching the first episode again on Drama on Wednesday night and being reminded why it restored his faith in British TV: The bit in State of Play where Marc Warren's character (Dominic Foy) tries to flee through customs with his jaw wired-up. A beautiful slapstick comedy moment in a piece of elegant, mature, proper grown-up drama.
Whitechapel's final episode of its fourth series bounced back in the ratings on Wednesday, according to overnight data. Albeit, not by very much. The ITV drama gained back over two hundred thousand viewers from last week to end with 3.29 million overnight viewers at 9pm; a far cry from the days just a couple of years ago when it was pulling in a regular seven million on overnights and up to nine million viewers on final, consolidated figures. So, that may well be the last we see of it. A pity as it was usually reliably bonkers, its awful second series aside. Meanwhile, wretched, odious, horrifyingly dreadful Big Star's Little Star was watched by 3.61m sad crushed victims of society at 8pm. On BBC1, Watchdog interested 4.40m at 8pm, followed by The Great British Year with 3.15m at 9pm. BBC2's The House that One Hundred Thousand Pounds Built appealed to 1.96m at 8pm, while Dan Snow's History of Congo (it's where they drink Umbongo, apparently) educated 1.25m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Three Day Nanny attracted nine hundred and ninety five thousand at 8pm. Grand Designs continued with 2.53m punters at 9pm and Gogglebox had an audience of 1.40m at 10pm. Channel Five's documentary Fat For Cash squeezed in 1.15m at 9pm.

The BBC is to end a lengthy partnership with the Discovery network, which has produced award-winning programmes such as Frozen Planet and The Blue Planet. The corporation said that the deal was ending 'by mutual agreement' but that both parties would still work together. BBC commercial director Bal Samra said science and natural history remained 'a core part of the BBC's DNA. We have ambitious plans for the future, with an exciting range of new content in the pipeline.' He added that international demand for BBC content had 'never been higher.' Discovery's Andrew Jackson commented: 'As Discovery's global audiences continue to flourish, they demand the very best science and natural history programming. This is taking us in exciting, new directions, creating these essential shows for numerous cutting-edge platforms. We look forward to working with the many talented production companies around the world, including the BBC, with whom we have enjoyed a long and successful relationship.' Meanwhile, the BBC has announced a new deal with BBC Worldwide, to invest in factual content including science, history and natural history programming. It follows last week's announcement of more than fifty hours of natural history programming, including follow-ups to The Blue Planet and the Planet Earth series. Oceans - a follow-up to the 2001 series The Blue Planet - will look at some of the marine species that have been discovered over the past decade, including the blanket octopus and the yeti crab. 'Commercial investment through BBC Worldwide and our network of production partners around the world will ensure that we continue to make ambitious, genre-defining series that connect audiences from London to Tokyo with science, history and the wonders of the natural world,' said Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television.
The model and - alleged - 'TV personality' Katie Price has received undisclosed damages over phone-hacking, the High Court has heard. Price also received an apology from News Group Newspapers, the former publishers of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Hers was one of four settlements announced during the eighteenth case management conference in the second wave of the long-running litigation. Price was not present at Wednesday's hearing. Other agreed statements read to the court came from another -alleged - 'TV personality' The Only Way Is Essex's Lauren Pope, the Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson, and the former assistant chief constable for South Yorkshire Police, Stephen Chamberlain, and his wife Helen. They also all received undisclosed damages and 'sincere' (and grovelling) apologies from NGN's counsel, Dinah Rose QC. The four settlements are part of the second tranche of the long-running civil litigation relating to phone and computer hacking, with twenty six claims still outstanding and a further nine yet to be served. The court heard that between 2000 and 2011 Price was the subject of Scum of the World articles, some of which contained private and confidential information. An agreed statement read by solicitor Charlotte Ward said that Price 'had concerns about the security of her mobile phone and so changed her phone number several times. She also had her house swept for surveillance devices, although none was found.' In 2011 she was contacted by the Metropolitan police, who told her that they had evidence suggesting the defendant may have unlawfully obtained private and confidential information including 'various e-mails, notes and call data.' In November 2012 Price set out her details of claim, 'including the fact that her voicemail messages and text messages had been targeted.' Atkinson was also the subject of a number of articles in the Scum of the World, but had not become aware of the source of certain material until recently, the court heard. She was 'unsure whether someone close to her had been leaking information to the press' and this caused her 'considerable distress' Ward claimed. Atkinson was contacted by the Met in 2012, who told her personal information pertaining to her had been found as part of Operation Weeting, set up to investigate phone-hacking allegations. Pope was also unsure whether someone close to her had leaked information, said Ward. Kirsten Sjovoll, solicitor for Chamberlain and his wife, a police superintendent with Nottinghamshire police, said that the couple had been 'targeted' by the defendant from at least 2003, when they were both working for the South Yorkshire force. Stories about their relationship appeared in the Sun, the Scum of the World and 'another newspaper'. As a result the couple 'became concerned about the security of their private information and the security of their mobile telephones in particular' said Sjovoll in a statement read aloud to the court. In 2012 they were contacted by officers from Operation Weeting, who told them their private details had been found in the notebooks of a private investigator working for the defendant. They were 'extremely distressed to learn that they had been targeted in this way and that private details relating to medical information and their advisers had been obtained by the defendant,' said Sjovoll. Private and confidential information had been used 'by the defendant for numerous stories published in its newspaper from September 2003 onwards about the claimants and their relationships.'

And now, the funniest news story of the week, dear blog reader. A government minster has claimed that badgers 'moved the goalposts' when asked why marksmen failed to reach a cull target. A pilot badger cull in West Somerset may be extended by up to three weeks in an effort to make up the shortfall. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was asked if he had 'moved the goalposts' by claiming the cull was a success. 'The badgers moved the goalposts,' he replied. 'We're dealing with a wild animal,' he continued. Wild? You're shooting at them, matey, I imagine they're sodding livid. He went on to claim that badgers were 'subject to the vagaries of the weather and disease and breeding patterns.' This blogger would like to point out, at this juncture, that badgers do not have opposable thumbs and therefore, by definition, cannot move goalposts or anything even remotely like it. Although they probably could keep goal for a couple of teams in the Premier League whose own dodgy keepers appear to be equally thumb-less. The pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset set out to study if badgers could be killed safely, effectively and humanely. Or, whether they should just hit them with hammers and have done with it. It is being carried out in an attempt to control TB in cattle, which can be spread by badgers. Opponents say it will have no impact. The plan was to kill seventy per cent of badgers in the areas of West Somerset and Gloucestershire by 'free' shooting. That is, shooting them, in the mush, freely. Across both regions this meant that around five hundred badgers were to be killed in total. But alleged DEFRA 'sources' allegedly said these targets were based on population estimates from 2012 that have proved to be 'highly inaccurate.' In West Somerset, the population, which had been estimated at two thousand four hundred, has now been revised downwards to one thousand four hundred and fifty. In Gloucestershire, the numbers have been lowered from three thousand four hundred to two thousand three hundred and fifty. Paterson told BBC Spotlight that marksmen had killed sixty per cent of the current numbers of badgers in Somerset. 'Our chief vet thinks that will lead to a significant reduction in disease,' he claimed. 'There's no question the cull in Somerset has been a success.' He said that extending the pilots would achieve the government's target. And, give those taking part in the cull a right good chimney on. 'It is a notorious TB hotspot so it is sensible to remove as many as possible,' he said.

Ben Collins, who was The Stig on Top Gear for several years before being sacked for revealing his identity in a book, has said that Jezza Clarkson could be 'a pain in the ass.' And, in other news, bears, apparently, do shit in the woods. The former racing driver 'opened up' about his time on the BBC show for an Ask Me Anything session on the Reddit website. When asked who he got on with best out of the three hosts, Collins replied: 'I really liked working with all three of them. Jeremy can be a pain in the ass but hilarious in the same second. Hammond loves a fight and that's endearing and James is mad - I used to spend hours watching his eyes spinning around like a loon.' Collins went on to say: 'I was meant to be there the day Hammond was hurt but was called away to work with Jeremy. It was horrible when it happened and thankfully he pulled through. Like I say he's a fighter.' Collins told the Digital Spy website last year that he left Top Gear as he felt his time was up when his identity was revealed. Revealed, let us remember, by him. In a book which he wrote and made a lot of money out of. 'If I didn't leave I was going to be moved on. It was time to go. No regrets at all. I loved my time there,' he said. He has gone on to do stunt work for James Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. And his book which caused all the trouble - The Man In The White Suit - is now available for a penny on Amazon (exclusive of postage and packing). Bargain.

And now, something properly hilarious. The Daily Scum Mail having had their fill of abusing Ed Milimolimandi's dad it would seem, now have a new target. The Gruniad Morning Star. Who are 'the paper that helps Britain's enemies', apparently. They're certainly the paper that talks more shite than anyone besides the Daily Scum Mail, I'll give them that much. The Gruniad, of course, have hit back. But, this is fantastic. The two organs of the media in this country which this blogger - genuinely - loathes the most kicking lumps out of each other in public. Go on, lads, get stuck in. And, hopefully, show everyone what a bunch of worthless waste-of-space scum lice the both of you are.
A British crime author has spoken of his excitement after American network ABC confirmed it is developing a TV drama series based on his books. Isle of Man-based Chris Ewan's five book series, The Good Thief's Guide, follows the adventures of criminal Charlie Howard around the world. The show is being developed for ABC by Twentieth Century FOX Television. Ewan said: 'It is incredibly exiting and the names involved with the project are impressive.' Among those working on the project are the creator of the hit American show Bones, Hart Hanson and Andrew Miller, executive producer of Secret Circle. They will both write, create and executive produce the show. The Taunton-born author said: 'It is in development now and I feel very lucky. This is exciting news for the Good Thief novels and I'm so grateful to have such a talented team working on the adaptation.' Each novel is set in a new city and centres around one perfect heist which usually turns into a tangled web of lies and double crosses. Ewan has written seven novels and was recently named as the Isle of Man Arts Council's writer in residence for next year's Island of Culture. In 2011, he was voted one of America's favourite British authors by a Huffington Post poll.

Yer actual Tom Hanks has ruled out taking on roles which require drastic weight gain following his diagnosis with type two diabetes. The two-time Oscar-winning actor has often taken on roles that have required him to manipulate his weight, such as Castaway and A League Of Their Own. But he told the BBC those sort of roles were 'a young man's game.' Hanks is in the UK to promote sea piracy thriller Captain Phillips, which opens the London Film Festival this week. He added: 'I've talked to a number of actors who have gained weight for roles and - just out of the sheer physical toll on one's knees and shoulders - no-one wants to do it again. I think that's more or less a young man's game. I'm fifty seven and I don't think I'm going to take on any job - or go on any vacation again - and see to it that I can gain thirty pounds.' The actor revealed he had been diagnosed with type two diabetes on US TV's Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week. He told Letterman that he had been showing the symptoms for some time. 'I went to the doctor, and he said, "You know those high blood-sugar numbers you've been dealing with since you were thirty six? Well, you've graduated! You've got type two diabetes, young man.' The actor, who won best acting Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, added: 'It's controllable. Something's going to kill us all, Dave.' Type two diabetes affects the body by either not producing enough insulin - the hormone that turns sugar into energy - or by resisting insulin. People might get diabetes because of family history, age and ethnic background. They are also more likely to get type two diabetes if they are overweight. Or, like yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self, through forty nine years of eating lots of extremely good food, drinking lots of nice wine and spending lots of fun afternoons sitting on the sofa watching telly. Hence, lifestyle and diet changes, medication, exercise and, err, Gillian. It all helps.

On a related note, Thursday saw the first of two - entirely separate although both diabetes-related - medical appointments in two days for yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self on a horribly dreary, wet morning. This one was with the podiatrist. Pretty encouraging (apart, obviously, from yer actual Keith Telly Topping's horrible feet). No problems with either blood-flow to the extremities nor any loss of sensation were detected. She is sending yer actual Keith Telly Topping for another - long overdue - biometric exam to see if they can improve on the shoe inserts he was prescribed a few years back for his massively fallen arches. So, that was all good. Walking back through Walker Churchyard and up Wharrier Street in what was not far off a sodding monsoon, however, wasn't. If anybody wants yer actual Keith Telly Topping today, dear blog reader, he will be be drying off, and thawing out.

Julian Assange refused to meet yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch while the latter was preparing to play the WikiLeaks founder on film, a leaked e-mail has revealed. In the e-mail, sent in January, Assange described the movie, The Fifth Estate, as 'toxic' and 'distorted.' He also urged the actor: 'Reconsider your involvement in this enterprise.' The Australian hacker - and, alleged, rapist (allegations he strenuously denies) - has been living at the Ecuadoran embassy in London after claiming asylum a year ago to avoid extradition to Sweden. Released by Wikileaks, his e-mail was written in response to the actor's request for a meeting, something Assange called a bad idea. 'By meeting with you I would validate this wretched film,' he wrote. 'I cannot permit this film any claim to authenticity or truthfulness. In its current form it has neither, and doing so would only further aid the campaign against me.' Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they;re not out to get you, they reckon. The Fifth Estate received a standing ovation at its world premiere during the Toronto Film Festival last month and is released this Friday - 11 October - in the UK and in America next week. It has received mixed reviews from critics, although they have largely been favourable towards Cumberbatch's performance. Assange did praise Cumberbatch's previous work -he's a big fan of Sherlock, seemingly - and said the two would 'forever be correlated in the public imagination. I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film,' said Assange. 'It is based on a deceitful book by someone who has a vendetta against me and my organisation.' The film draws on a memoir by former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website. It also uses material from WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. Assange continued: 'Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception, because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion. This film is going to bury good people doing good work, at exactly the time that the state is coming down on their heads. It is going to smother the truthful version of events, at a time when the truth is most in demand. As justification it will claim to be fiction, but it is not fiction. It is distorted truth about living people doing battle with titanic opponents. It is a work of political opportunism, revenge and, above all, cowardice.' Bloody hell, messiah complex, much? The e-mail was published in full on a number of websites including Variety. In comments accompanying the release of the letter, Assange said the DreamWorks film, directed by Bill Condon, was 'a geriatric snoozefest that only the US government could love.' Although ,quite how he's seen it to make such comments without leaving the embassy is a question, perhaps, best left for another day. WikiLeaks angered the United States in 2010 by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and US diplomatic cables. In June 2012, Assange walked into the Ecuadorean embassy in London when his appeal against extradition to Sweden, for questioning on accusations of sex crimes, was turned down. He denies the allegations and claims that they are 'politically motivated', but Britain refuses to grant him safe passage out of the country, leaving him stuck inside the embassy. In January's e-mail Assange warned Cumberbatch: 'You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it. To present me as someone morally compromised and to place me in a falsified history. To create a work, not of fiction, but of debased truth. Not because you want to, of course you don't, but because, in the end, you are a jobbing actor who gets paid to follow the script, no matter how debauched.' Cumberbatch revealed last month that he had considered quitting the movie after receiving the e-mail, which he called a 'considered, thorough, charming and intelligent account' of why he should not take part.

Hapless Harry Knobcheese has been accused of 'disrespecting' the England manager Roy Hodgson by former Football Association chairman David Bernstein. In his autobiography, Knobcheese claims that English football was being 'run by people who really haven't got a clue' after he lost out to Hodgson for the job of succeeding Fabio Capello in 2012. But Bernstein rejected the criticism and told BBC Sport that the timing of Knobcheese's comments - just a few days ahead of two key World Cup qualifiers for England - was both 'disrespectful' and 'unhelpful'. England, who top Group H, face Montenegro at Wembley on Friday and then Poland away on Tuesday and will secure a place at next year's World Cup in Brazil with two victories. 'To come out and effectively criticise a process and another manager - because that is what he did - at this particular time where we had two crucial international matches coming up was something that I thought someone like Harry would think better of,' said Bernstein, who stepped down from his FA role earlier this year. Knobcheese also wrote: 'Everyone said I was the people's choice, the only choice.' Although what he actually means by 'everyone' is a bunch of his friends in the London-based sports press and no one actually seems to have asked 'the people' if they agreed with their - alleged - 'choice.' Knobcheese went on to claim that: 'All the senior players seemed to be up for me to get the job. But the FA went for Roy Hodgson to be the England manager - a man who is more their cup of tea.' However, Bernstein insisted that the FA had done 'a very thorough job' when choosing Capello's successor in May last year and defended the four-man selection panel. That panel, chaired by Bernstein, also included Sir Trevor Brooking - a former team mate of Knobcheese at West Ham United and someone who, unlike Knobcheese, also played at an international level - FA general secretary Alex Horne and Adrian Bevington, managing director of Club England. 'First of all, it's quite simply inaccurate,' said Bernstein, addressing the Queens Park Strangers manager's claims that the FA was 'clueless.' He added: 'There were four people who made this decision. One of them was myself - and I've been involved with running Manchester City for ten years and chairman of that club for five years. [There was also] Sir Trevor Brooking, who has a lifetime in football; Adrian Bevington, who has huge football knowledge, amazing football knowledge and Alex Horne, the general secretary. We spoke to up to twenty people within the game: other managers, players, all sorts of people with great, great knowledge. I was very proud of the way we did it. It was done discreetly and professionally and I believe we ended up with the right choice.' When asked if Knobcheese was a contender for the job, Bernstein said: 'I won't answer that question.' So, that'd be a 'no' then.

Hot Spot will not be used in this winter's Ashes series in Australia, according to the inventor of the infrared camera technology used to detect - or, more usually not detect - edges. Host broadcaster Channel Nine chose to drop the controversial system after concerns over its cost and reliability. 'It's their decision and that's what has been communicated to us,' Warren Brennan told the Sydney Morning Herald. The International Cricket Council said it was a matter for Channel Nine and Cricket Australia to resolve. The England and Wales Cricket Board is 'aware of the reports' and is considering its response. The governing body was not contacted in advance of the decision. England coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook have consistently backed the use of technology in the decision review system and expressed a desire to improve it, rather than dispense of any of its components. The absence of Hot Spot means television umpires will be restricted to using Eagle Eye ball-tracking software, audio from stump microphones, and slow-motion replays when England or Australia review an umpire's decision during the Ashes, which begins on 21 November in Brisbane. Hot Spot was devised in 2007 by BBG Sports and works using heat sensors and infrared cameras to determine what the ball has made contact with. But it came under scrutiny during England's Ashes victory over the summer when apparent several faint edges appeared to go undetected, with Brennan claiming at one point that the protective tape on players' bats was diminishing the effectiveness of his system. Which was repeated by several media outlets and is, apparently, still a legal matter. The host broadcaster and the governing body finance the cost of using Hot Spot, which is ten thousand dollars per day according to Cricinfo. 'As far as I'm concerned, the decision is final,' Brennan added. 'We're just moving on with things. Channel Nine have got a new deal with Cricket Australia which I know has cost them a lot more money. I gather there had to be some restructuring of costs. The disappointing thing for us is that Cricket Australia didn't engage at all with us to try and come on board and help with this situation. They just said, "No, it's got nothing to do with us. It's Channel Nine's responsibility." Cricket Australia is the only body that doesn't contribute to our costs for the DRS components. New Zealand contribute directly to us, the ECB contribute and also South Africa. My only beef is with Cricket Australia because we tried to engage with them several weeks ago and they refused. We need to continue to invest and improve the product so that everybody thinks it's getting better. If bodies like Cricket Australia won't come on board and contribute to that, there's not really any point in us continuing.' A Cricket Australia spokesman was quoted as saying: 'We don't think it's appropriate to comment on discussions between Nine and one of its partners.'

A radio advert by payday lender Wonga featuring rewritten lyrics from the 1950s song 'Mr Sandman' has been banned as 'irresponsible' by the Advertising Standards Authority. The controversial online lender used the song to market its short-term loans, which have an annual interest rate of more than five thousand eight hundred per cent. It rewrote the lyrics to say: 'Mister Wonga, lend me some dough. Make it the simplest loan that I'll ever know. Give me two choices when I go online. One for how much I want. Two for what length of time. Mister Wonga, at wonga.com. You make it easy when the month feels too long. Thanks for everything you've done. Mister Wonga you're number one.' Sickening, isn't it? The ASA looked at whether some of the claims in the advert were irresponsible because they gave the impression that taking a high-interest loan could be done lightly. It was particularly concerned that the claim 'Mister Wonga you make it easy when the month feels too long' gave the impression that a high-interest short-term loan could routinely be taken between paydays to supplement a monthly income. The ASA said: 'We considered that the claim gave the impression that a high-interest short-term loan was not a financial commitment that required a great deal of consideration and that impression was also compounded by the claims about the simplicity of the application process.' But Wonga claimed that the advert showed that if a customer had visited its website and completed an application, the lender would be able to provide funds 'quickly and efficiently.' The advert was investigated after a listener complained that it had been inappropriately scheduled because it was broadcast when it could be heard by children. Although quite what the listener excepted children were going to actually do with such information is another matter entirely. Apply for a loan? The ASA rejected this complaint, saying that although the tune was 'catchy and upbeat' the content of the lyrics was 'unlikely to capture [children's] attention.' Or, even if it did, who gives a stuff about absolutely nonsense like that? Payday lenders have - rightly - come under fire recently because of their huge interest rates and misleading advertisements which make light of the serious nature of payday loans. And because they're currently sponsoring this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies because the owner of the club is a disgrace who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Wonga's television adverts have also been criticised for being during daytime, when unemployed and vulnerable viewers (or, you know, morons) are most likely to be tuning in. The City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, will take over the regulation of the payday loan industry in April. Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, said he did not rule out a total ban on advertising, or tighter restrictions on when and where payday lenders could promote their products.

Morrissey has said that he is 'delighted and flattered' by reworkings of Peanuts comic strips featuring lyrics by his former band The Smiths. In a statement released to fansite True To You, the singer distanced himself from record label attempts to take down the site, which uses frames originally drawn by the late Charles M Schulz. 'Morrissey would like to stress that he has not been consulted over any takedown request to remove the Tumblr blog named This Charming Charlie,' the message read. 'Morrissey is represented by Warner-Chappell Publishing, and not Universal Music Publishing, (who have allegedly demanded that the lyrics be removed). Morrissey is delighted and flattered by the Peanuts comic strip with its use of Morrissey-Smiths lyrics, and he hopes that the strips remain.'
For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, we're back on the telly theme, if you see what I mean. Trumpets!

1 comment:

Mark said...

"Dear BBC, I am a Nigerian Prince. Please forward me your bank details and I shall send you The Space Pirates in full. I await your reply. Kind Regards"

Seriously though, it's like Xmas!